Kenya to chair United Nations committee on tourism

Kenya has been elected to chair the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness, solidifying its position as a leader in the global tourism industry.

The announcement was made at the first meeting of the committee held at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Spain.

Kenya won the position after two rounds of voting, defeating strong bids from Thailand and Malta.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua said the win was important for Kenya as it put the country in a position of decision making in matters that affect tourism across the globe.

"This vote demonstrates the confidence that UNWTO member states have in Kenya’s leadership and ability to steer the organisation’s agenda on tourism competitiveness,” he said.

Dr Mutua added that tourism is a key pillar of Kenya's economy and chairing the committee would allow synergy with other UNWTO members in shaping policy, building partnerships, and promoting best practices in tourism.

“We shall champion initiatives that will help in the creation of jobs, protecting of the planet as well as driving inclusive growth that can be felt and be impactful within communities."

The UNWTO Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness acts as a platform for cooperation between member states to enhance the competitiveness of their offering, promote innovation, and ensure the sustainable growth of tourism worldwide.

UNWTO Executive Director Zoritsa Urosevic acknowledged Kenya's remarkable achievements in the tourism sector and expressed confidence in the country's ability to lead the committee effectively. 

“I commend Kenya for its commitment to sustainable tourism development. As one of the important tourism economies in Africa, Kenya will bring valuable experience and expertise that will lead the Committee’s work in enhancing competitiveness and responsible tourism across UNWTO member countries,” she said. 

Kenya Tourism Board Public Relations and Corporate Communications Manager Wausi Walya led the pitch for Kenya as the designated technical officer and appointed focal person for the technical committee by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.

The successful bid was anchored on Kenya's tourism competitiveness pillars such as destination marketing, diversified offerings, sustainable practices, cultural and natural heritage, training, and skills development programmes. 

Kenya takes over the chairmanship for three years and will hold the position until 2027.

Other committees of the UNWTO where Kenya is mandated to represent Africa include the Programme and Budget Committee (up to 2025) and the Committee on Tourism and Sustainability where Kenya will be a representative until 2027.

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